Saturday, February 26, 2011

Going Fishing?! - Pink Saturday

I love these old embossed postcards.  This one, though a tad worn, is still lovely.  At first glance I imagined the little cherub looked a bit like Agent Dana Scully on the old television show called the X-Files.

I laughed at the idea of this  faery child fishing from atop a posy of roses. What do you suppose she thinks she'll catch?  I wondered about the protective head gear--since this cherub, as with most cherubs--isn't wearing much of anything else.  Then I thought of how uncomfortable it might be sitting there with er, no underpants.

Happy Pink Saturday to all.  For more wonderful things in pink, visit Beverly at  How Sweet The Sound!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Plum Blossom Festival - Postcard Friendship Friday #52

I've heard of the Japanese Plum Blossom Festival since I was a kid.  What I didn't know is the Festival has been held on February 25, for over 900 years! The Spring celebration at Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto is said to be one of the most beautiful.

I found an interesting story surrounding the festival.  The Kitano Tenmangu Shrine was built in the year 947, to appease the angry spirit of Saguwara no Michizane, a brilliant scholar and poet.  The lovely gardens surrounding the shrine are filled with Michizane's favorite tree, the red and white plum blossom.   

Michizane was educated in a private school run by his father where he studied to become an official in the Court of the Japanese Emperor. His training and skill with Classical Chinese language and literature afforded him many opportunities to draft edicts and correspondences for officials in the Court in addition to his other duties.

He was appointed ambassador to China in the 890s, but instead came out in support of abolition of the imperial embassies to China in 894. Michizane did not speak Chinese.  In fact, most Japanese at that time could only read the Chinese language. 

Within the end of Emperor Uda'd reign in 897, Michizane's position became vulnerable. In the year 901, through the political maneuverings of his enemies, Michizane was demoted from his aristocratic rank of junior second to a minor post and was exiled.  He died far from home, friends and family.  

After Michizane's lonely death, in an astounding coincidence, plague and drought spread across the country and one by one, all the Emperor's sons died. The Imperial Palace's Great Audience Hall was struck repeatedly by lightning and the city experienced weeks of rainstorms and floods. 

After much deliberation, the leadership of the country attributed these disasters to the angry spirit of the wrongly accused Michizane.  To appease the spirit's anger, the imperial court built a Shinto Shrine called Kitano Tenman-gu in Kyoto and dedicated it to Michizane. They posthumously restored his title and office and struck from the record any mention of his exile. Michizane was deified as Tenjin-sama, or Kami of scholarship. Today many Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to him.

What an interesting story.  I'd never heard it before.  I love a good story--everyone does.

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Come On Over - Guest Heart Thursday

This is another Valentine from my card collection.  I love this little girl's dress--reminds me of the 1950's, though I believe this card is a great deal older than that.  This card was printed in the USA, most likely in the late 1940's.

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

Friday, February 18, 2011

President's Day - Postcard Friendship Friday #51

I apologize to everyone for getting this up so late this morning.  Starting next week I will make an effort to have PFF up by Thursday night--this to accommodate those of you who are on the other side of the world from us!  Thank you everyone for your participation in PFF.  I appreciate each and every one of you!

This coming Monday is President's Day in the United States.  Most people take the day off to celebrate.  President Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president.  When I finally get to heaven, I will make a beeline for his mansion.  For years, my Dad has told us, our family has ties to President Lincoln--we're shirt tail relatives, he says.   But besides that, President Lincoln's wisdom and kindness speak to us down through the years.  His insight, courage and rare brilliance are inspiring.

 Five months before Abe Lincoln was nominated to run for President, he wrote of  himself,  "I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.... My father ... removed from Kentucky to ... Indiana, in my eighth year.... It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the woods. There I grew up.... Of course when I came of age I did not know much. Still somehow, I could read, write, and cipher ... but that was all."

Lincoln  did all kinds of things before he became president.  He worked on a farm, splitting rails for fences, and keeping store at New Salem, Illinois. He was a captain in the Black Hawk War, spent eight years in the Illinois legislature, and rode the circuit of courts for many years. His law partner said of him, "His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest."

He married Mary Todd, and they had four boys, only one of whom lived to maturity. In 1858 Lincoln ran against Stephen A. Douglas for Senator. He lost the election, but when he debated with Douglas he gained a national reputation which won him the Republican nomination for President in 1860.

As President, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. Further, he rallied most of the northern Democrats to the Union cause. On January 1, 1863, he issued the Emancipation Proclamation which declared freedom for all slaves.

Lincoln never let the world forget that the Civil War involved an even larger issue. This he stated most movingly in dedicating the military cemetery at Gettysburg.  He said, "that we here highly resolved that these dead shall not have died in vain--that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom--and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Lincoln won re-election in 1864, as Union military triumphs heralded an end to the war. In his planning for peace, the President was flexible and generous, encouraging Southerners to lay down their arms and join speedily in reunion.

Then, on Good Friday, April 14, 1865, Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theater in Washington by John Wilkes Booth, an actor, who somehow thought he was helping the South.   That was a sad day which rings it's sorrowful song down through the ages.  I wonder what he could have done, if he had lived?

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I shan't Stir - Guest Heart Thursday

This card was made in the USA in the late 1930's.  I love the little fellow in the cup and the clever saying, too.

For more heart art, photography and altogether fabulous heart stuff from around the world, visit Clytie at Random Hearts for Guest Heart Thursday.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Birds Began to Pair - Postcard Friendship Friday #50

This is our 50th Postcard Friendship Friday!  Can you believe it?  It seems just yesterday Maria asked me to take it over.  Thank you for your participation, Friends.  I have really enjoyed hosting this meme!

I also wanted to thank all of you for your kind words, prayers and thoughts when our precious Bootz flew away to heaven.  You have been a huge comfort to my husband and me, as we have grieved over the emptiness our furry friend left behind.  ((hugs))  Thank You.

I'm an incurable romantic.  Valentine's Day has always been one of my favorite holidays.  I love Valentine's Day cards and postcards.  In my research for today's blog, I found a charming bit of history I didn't know.  Though some historians believe Valentine's Day was to honor of Saint Valentine, there is another widely held belief.  It is said Valentine's Day actually grew out of the Middle Ages, when people celebrated February 14 as the day "the birds began to pair." 

It is no wonder that Spring, more than any other time of year, is the season most associated with romance.  Warm sunshine, flowers and the songs of twitterpated birds fill the air with the fragrance of romance.  As time went on, people began to see the mid-February feast of St. Valentine as a special time to turn one's thoughts to romance and courting. As time marched further along, St. Valentine's Day became THE day for romance--a time for wooing, sending flowers, love letters and gifts to one's Beloved.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  And Happy PFF! 

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hold On! Here we Go! - Guest Heart Thursday

Here is another card from my collection.  This was made in the USA sometime in the late 1930's.  I love the way the little guy clutches the card, while riding "piggy back" on this, er, talking piglet!  Don't you just love the outfit?!  Happy Valentine's Day!

For more wonderful artwork, Valentine cards, photography and other random hearts, visit Clytie, Queen of Hearts, at Guest Heart Thursday!

Monday, February 7, 2011

You're the Goal I'm After

This is one of my favorite Valentine cards from my collection. This beautifully crafted card is unique because the upper part of the hockey player's body as well as the hockey stick move. There is a tiny metal rivet located in the boy's right hand.

The card was published in Canada most likely sometime in the late 1920's. I just love the old skates and uniform--back then there seemed to be hardly any padding for protection!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bonne Annee - Pink Saturday

This little Cherub surrounded with pink blossoms seemed perfect for Pink Saturday today!  Have a wonderful week, everyone.  

I want to thank each of you for your kind words concerning our loss -- what a precious comfort as we miss our Bootz so very much.  Bootz the Cat will always be dear to our hearts.

For more wonderful things in pink, visit Beverly at  How Sweet The Sound!  

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mother of the American Valentine - Postcard Friendship Friday #49

I find it amazing that one woman, Esther Howland, is held responsible for the creation of our modern day Valentine's Day Card.  It goes to show one person really can accomplish incredible things. 

In the mid-1800's, with technological advances and the availability of paper, Esther is credited with several innovations in Valentine design. One was the small brightly colored wafer of paper placed beneath, to give contrast under the white paper lace; another was the built-up shadow box.

It all began through the family business.  Esther's family operated the largest bookstore and stationery store in Worchester, Massachusetts.  Born in the same time period as poet Emily Dickenson, the young girl received a beautifully intricate English Valentine and was inspired.  She persuaded her Dad to order lace paper and other supplies to make some sample cards, which her brother added to the store's catalog.  They were only expecting $200 in advance orders and were shocked when $5,000 worth of her home made cards were pre-ordered. 

Since Esther couldn't make that many cards all by herself, she asked three of her best friends to help out.  In this way a  Valentine's Day Card assembly line was born.  Esther placed her first ad in the local paper in 1850.  The business grew and in a short time The New England Valentine Company was born.  Her cards were so greatly in demand, she quickly rented a small building for the business.

While other companies competed for sales to the public, none could compete with the value, taste, and style of Esther Howland. Her cards set the trend for years.  While she was not the first to create Valentine cards in America, she is credited with having popularized the lace Valentine and turning it into a major industry.

The business flourished despite her semi-retirement in 1866, when a recurring knee injury forced her to use a wheelchair.  When her father fell ill in 1881, she sold her business to George Whitney, in order to care for her father. George Whitney continued to pattern many of their cards in the Howland Style. Esther died in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1904 -- never having married.  The honor, The Mother of the American Valentine appeared in a newspaper article shortly after her death.

To see more wonderful postal stuff, visit Gemma at Greyscale Territory at Weekend Mailbox!